The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on Sunday painted a pathetic picture of the rot in Arik Airline, disclosing that only nine aircraft out of the 30 in the fleet of the airline were operational.
According to AMCON, the other 21 aircraft are either grounded, gone for C-check in Europe or are having other challenges.
This was made known in a statement signed by AMCON’s spokesman, Mr Jude Nwauzor in Lagos, adding that for the embattled Arik Air to return to full business operation, it would have to spend over N10billion to fix myriads of issues besetting it.
Part of the statement read, “As if these problems are not enough, the airline does not have money to procure aviation fuel for the nine operational aircrafts because no dealer wants to sell aviation fuel to Arik if it is not on cash-and-carry basis.
“This also calls for public understanding because flight schedules may be realigned based on the nine aircrafts that are available, technically sound and ready for flight operation.
“All these problems in addition to huge staff salaries, which have remained unpaid for 11 months; vendors that supply different items to Arik Air that are also owed means that Nigerians may have to tarry-a-while to allow the new management clean up the huge mess at the airline before Arik would finally resume uninterrupted flight.’’
The statement further disclosed that the airline also owes its technical partners heavy amounts of money and has always defaulted in its lease payments and insurance premium, which exposed it to constant humiliating squabbles with different business partners.
AMCON had on February 9 taken over Arik Airline and directed that the airline should forthwith be managed by Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, a veteran aviation expert, under the receivership of Mr Oluseye Opasanya (SAN).
The confiscation of the airline followed its huge indebtedness amounting to over N300billion.
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